Bridet is Portsmouth’s latest king of the ring

Greg Bridet, left, on the way to victory over Russell Henshaw Pic: Mick Young
Greg Bridet, left, on the way to victory over Russell Henshaw Pic: Mick Young
Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy's Ivy-Jane Smith

Heart of Portsmouth ace aiming to become world champion

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Greg Bridet sensationally became the city’s latest national boxing champion on home soil.

The Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) heavyweight stunned unbeaten rival Russell Henshaw in a thrilling final to become Senior Novice ABA champion.

And now the 20-year-old is being tipped to go on to international success by his team.

Bridet triumphed with a whopping 51-35 success over his Trinity ABC opponent at the Mountbatten Centre.

His tactics proved spot on as Bridet withstood Henshaw’s power punching and caused damage with his hurtful counters.

Body shots and uppercuts from Bridet began to puncture his brave opponent’s resistance as the battle wore on, with Henshaw handed a second-round standing count – the first of four in the contest.

The intensity continued into the third, with Henshaw on top early on, before the momentum swung back in Bridet’s favour.

With the HOP man comfortably in front on points going into the final round, Henshaw went in search of the knockout his concussive power was capable of producing.

Bridet’s heart saw him through to the final bell, though, as he ran out a comprehensive points winner.

The battle proved a dramatic and exciting meeting, with HOP boss Q Shillingford singing the praises of both men. Shillingford lauded Bridet’s quality as he became national champion in fitting style.

And it was another shot in the arm for Portsmouth boxing, after Mateusz Ziolkowski and Lloyd Johnson won national junior titles last month.

Shillingford said: ‘It was an electrifying final which had everyone on the edge of their seats. It was a war zone.

‘There was so much action going – both men were given two counts. The crowd loved it and the action had everyone on their feet.

‘Greg has taken on the best in the country and soundly beaten them.

‘He showed class, the ability to take punches and, most of all, the heart to win.

‘It’s because of his dedication and will to win that he’s a national champion today.

‘It was a brilliant event put on by Stacey ABC and another feather in the cap for boxing in the city.

‘For Greg to win it in Portsmouth in front of his family and friends is fantastic.’

Organisers Stacey were delighted with successfully holding a national final after reforming earlier this year.

Coach and event organiser Yinka Bello said: ‘The show went really well.

‘We only reformed in August, so to do a decent job of holding a national event is good news for the club moving forward.’

Bridet’s win against a highly-touted opponent has marked him out for an exciting future. Shillingford believes the Commonwealth Games in 2014 is a realistic proposition, with the Olympics two years later a possibility.

Bridet is now being earmarked for a run in the senior ABA Championships which begins next year.

Shillingford said: ‘We have big plans for Greg.

‘He has stepped up to national level. Now we want to take him to international level.

‘In the short term, we want to get him an open-class title and he is now going in the senior ABA Championships.

‘The medium term is the Commonwealth Games and, the long term, the Olympics.

‘Greg has the dedication to achieve his dreams.’

HOP will be showcasing their up-and-coming talent at their show this Friday at South Parade Pier, which will feature more than 20 bouts.

Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are £10 (£5 juniors).